The Österreichische Mediathek

The majority of our archive stock consists of sources in German, however, next to a variety of  music recordings in English you can also find some language recordings in English:
Some examples from our online stock in English

The Österreichische Mediathek is the Austrian archive for sound recordings and videos on cultural and contemporary history. It was founded in 1960 as Österreichische Phonothek (Austrian Phonothek) by the Ministry of Education and has been a branch of the Technisches Museum Wien (Vienna Technical Museum) since 2001. As video and sound archive, the Österreichische Mediathek is responsible for the preservation of the Austrian audio-visual cultural heritage (with the exception of film on photographic carrier material and photography).


The Österreichische Mediathek collects audio-visual media published or produced in Austria, as well as international recordings relating to Austria. Further responsibilities include the selective recording of TV and radio programmes received in Austria and audiovisual Internet content. In order to preserve its collection, the Österreichische Mediathek specializes in digitisation and digital long-term archiving of audio and video material. Scientific projects review the archival stock with regards to content.


The collections of the Österreichische Mediathek mainly cover the subject areas music, literature, history, politics and science. The documents span the period from the 19th century to the present and include sound carriers such as instantaneous discs, shellac records, vinyl records, audio tapes, DAT cassettes, compact cassettes, CDs, DVDs, different video formats as well as various file formats. Among the stock, the self-recordings of the Österreichische Mediathek, the collection of the Österreichisches Institut für den wissenschaftlichen Film (ÖWF; Austrian Institute for Scientific Film), live recordings of the National Assembly sessions of the Austrian Parliament, live audio recordings of  Burgtheater premiers from 1955 on, the collection Rot-Weiß-Rot (Red-White-Red) with radio recordings from the post-war period, the collection Günther Schifter with shellacs from the inter-war period, recordings of selected radio and TV broadcasts, oral history interviews as well as Austrian artists’ and scientists’ estates are to be especially highlighted. Numerous sound and video documents are unique copies, which are only available in the Österreichische Mediathek.


The Österreichische Mediathek is a reference archive, the entire stock is available to the public. For some years, parts of the stock are also available online. Virtual exhibitions and online media databases are dedicated to various central subject areas: an acoustic chronicle illustrates Austrian history from 1900 to 2008, provides the radio station Ö1’s sound radio journals from 1967 to 1999 in full length and the online archive “Österreich am Wort” offers over 14000 sound recordings and videos on the Austrian cultural history, also freely accessible online.

THE MEDIATHEK ON THE WEB – The Österreichische Mediathek’s Internet portal
A chronicle of the First World War in sounds and films: starting with the antecedents of the war, the course of the First World War is documented by archive sources in several issues up to the foundation of the First Republic.
For research and teaching: Theme packages for working with online archive material. Examples, lesson planning ideas and worksheets for presentations, school projects or “vorwissenschaftliche Arbeiten” (prescientific papers).
The Österreichische Mediathek’s online archive: over 9000 sound recordings and videos on the Austrian cultural history in a scientific source edition available to listen to and watch.
From 1900 to 2008: An acoustic chronicle of Austria as a multimedia exhibition on the Austrian cultural and contemporary history of the 20th and 21st century.
Listening in on what happened 20, 30 or 40 years ago: 8000 hours Ö1 sound radio journals from the years 1967–1999 available in full length.
Austria’s way from the end of the war to the Austrian State Treaty: politics, everyday life, feel of life and culture 1945–1995 in direct quotes and memories of contemporary witnesses.
The ensemble of the Vienna court opera from the area Gustav Mahler: shellac recordings 1902–1912 with Leo Slezak, Anna von Mildenburg, Selma Kurz and many others.
Mozart – an acoustic audio journey: An audio journey through Mozart’s musical works, literary originals, letters and documents from his contemporaries.
The legendary radio host and shellac collector Günther Schifter: his life and hundreds of his popular radio shows!
DVA Profession: an integral solution for digitisation of video, developed at the Mediathek.


With the help of external (research) projects, the collections of the Mediathek are continuously extended,  processed with regard to content, source-critically analysed and made accessible.

  • Sounds and Voices – the sounding Viennese city map
    Historical voices, political events, music and literature – 300 archival recordings of the Mediathek pertaining to Vienna form an acoustic city map.
    Continuation: Audiovisual Atlas of Austria
    Project duration: 01/2015 – 12/2015. Project funding through Internet Foundation Austria (IPA).
    Project duration: 01/2017 – 12/2017. Project funding through Internet Foundation Austria (IPA).
  • The changing roles of audio-visual archives as memory storages in the public space – Archiving private everyday life documentation
    The Österreichische Mediathek collects and secures private video recordings, makes them accessible and develops a collection strategy for this source stock.
    Project duration: 12/2013 – 11/2016. Project funding through the Wiener Wissenschafts-, Forschungs- und Technologiefonds (WWTF; Vienna Science and Technology Fund).
  • Science as film – ethnological films from the Österreichisches Institut für den wissenschaftlichen Film (ÖWF) as source for research on the history of science
    Stock analysis and content review of the Österreichische Institut für den wissenschafltichen Film’s (Austrian Institute for Scientific Film) ethnological films.
    Project duration: 05/2012 – 04/2015. Project funding through the Jubilee Fund of the Austrian National Bank.
  • Europeana Sounds
    The project Europeana Sounds is a cooperation of 24 European institutions and aims at making accessible selected sounds and voices from 12 different countries through the web portal Europeana.
    Project duration: 02/2014 – 01/2017. The Österreichische Mediathek participates in the project as content provider, the project was co-funded by the European Commission under the CIP CIT-Policy Support Programme.
  • Collection Nationalfonds / Zukunftsfonds
    In cooperation with the oral history project “MenschenLeben”, the Österreichische Mediathek undertakes the systematic collection, digitisation, long-term archiving and making available to the public of oral history interviews, which were produced in the context of research projects of the National Fund of the Republic of Austria.
    Project duration: 02/2014 – 03/2018. Project funding through the National Fund of the Republic of Austria for the Victims of National Socialism and the Future Fund of the Republic of Austria.
  • Project “MenschenLeben” – Personal history narrations from Austria
    The oral history interview project “MenschenLeben”, conducted at the Mediathek, conducts extensive personal history interviews with persons of different age groups, origin and regional affiliation living in Austria. The Mediathek archives them and makes the available to the public.
    Project duration: 2009 – 2017. Project funding: private.
  • Interviews as sources for research
    The project aims at the better accessibility of audiovisual interviews, which will also improve and broaden research in Austrian contemporary history. The project will come up with a scientific identification and analysis of all interviews existing in Austria – and will open them up by means of a specifically designed internet platform.
    Project duration: 12/2016 – 01/2019. Project funding through the OeNB’s Anniversary Fund 


Audio-visual media have a limited life span. They can only be preserved over long periods of time by means of digitisation (transformation of sound and image into media files). Modern AV-media on the other hand are already “born” digital, as files (e.g. mp3). Therefore, audio-visual archives have become pioneers in digitisation and digital practices.

In the Österreichische Mediathek runs a complex digital system: use (electronic catalogues, listening at the push of a button), digitisation stations and mass storage (digital long-term archiving).

•    professional signal source devices and digital stations
•    special spaces for time-saving parallel transmission
•    algorithmic signal analysis during transmission
•    quality check after digitisation
•    target format:     audio: BWF (broadcast-wav, 96 kHz 24 bit) and MP3
      video: FFV1 (AVI-Container) and MPEG
•    automatic generation of backup copies
•    inserting basic information in the file header for easier management and
      identification (title, owner, signature, etc.)
•    storage of technical metadata throughout the entire digitisation process,
     generation of checksums (MD5)

Video digitisation – DVA-Profession:
For the professional digitisation of picture carriers, an integral solution for archival use was developed at the Mediathek: Video digitisation


Digital AV-media (media files) in particular need continuous, uninterrupted controls and migrations, in order to be used in perpetuity. Automatic and lossless copies of the media files onto new carriers and/or new formats enable long-term archiving.

The Mediathek’s mass storage is serviced and refined and provides for the migration of the stored media content.

Digital long-term archiving
•    security and continuity of a national archive
•    preservation of media files under strict security criteria
•    quadruple security (three redundant data pools + analogue original)
•    migration of files if  advisable for security reasons
•    copies of the on-going work, which can be replaced by new ones if

We also offer digitisation for other collections. Information and contact: stefan.kaltseis(at)
phone: +43 1 597 36 69 – 7132


The catalogue of the Mediathek’s total stock ( includes the Mediathek’s audio and video recordings available online („media available online“) as well as the recordings available in analogue and digital form on site when the Mediathek is open tot he public („media available in the Österreichische Mediathek“).
In our stock we preserve approx. 2 million recordings on over 530.000 carriers, which are available to you for research. Currently, over 19.000 hours of archive material can be viewed or listened to online.

The online catalogue offers a quick search as well as a professional search, the stock can be searched for by title, persons, key words, places and date. The coverage of individual entries can vary according to the state of processing.

The majority of our archive stock consists of sources in German, however, next to a variety of  music recordings in English you can also find some language recordings in English: 
Some examples from our online stock in English